For years many of us have Jazzercised, Zumba-ed, and run too many miles to count on the treadmill and elliptical in the hopes of losing weight. What results has this produced for most of us? Temporary weight loss and burn out. Cardio is supposed to burn all those calories and make me sweat to bring me to a caloric deficit, right? Well, yes and no. The only way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you burn on a daily basis. Seriously, reread that last sentence and sear it into your memory. Now what we do with our bodies in the form of exercise will augment the number of calories you burn in different ways. So, let’s briefly cover what doing cardio only versus an inclusive strength training regimen with cardio components can do to transform your body.
Cardio is great for burning calories and boosting your cardiovascular, pulmonary, and nervous systems. Just doing cardio as your exercise of choice can help you achieve weight loss while strengthening your heart and increasing lung capacity. What it will not do is boost your metabolism long term as you are not building a significant amount of muscle mass with your efforts. Cardio will not give you the muscle definition that makes fat loss look so good and it will not boost your resting metabolic burn rate the way increased muscle mass will.
This is where lifting weights becomes so important, especially as we age. Our metabolic rate (the rate we convert calories to energy) decreases as we age because muscle mass declines in a sedentary lifestyle. Lifting weights increases muscle mass which causes our resting metabolic burn rate to increase. What does that mean? Simply put, muscle requires more energy to function than fat. If your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) is low then you are not burning as many calories as you could be. Increasing your RMR by increasing your muscle mass will burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are not exercising.
So can I just lift weights to increase my RMR? There are many health professionals that would say “yes” to this question, but here at Focus Fitness we take an inclusive approach. We like to see our clients weight training in the gym 2-3 times a week in addition to performing some cardio 1-2 times a week for optimal strength and weight loss results. Combining weight training and cardio into your regular healthy lifestyle will give you the results that so many of us are looking for; healthy muscle definition with a low body fat-to-body weight ratio.
Simply put: Lifting Weights + Cardio + Caloric Deficit = Optimal Health & Weight Loss Results